Structure of the Assemblages of Spiders in Mediterranean Pear Orchards and the Effect of Intensity of Spraying

Insects. 2020 Aug 20;11(9):553. doi: 10.3390/insects11090553.


Spiders are key predatory arthropods that are negatively affected by spraying pesticides in orchards. The aim of this research was to determine the structure of the community of spiders in pear orchards and the impact of the intensity of spraying. The study was carried out over three years in four pear orchards in southern Spain; two of them were conducted by ourselves with no or low-intensity spraying of insecticides, and two under the criteria of technicians (conventional). Spiders were sampled on pear trees by the beating method. The orchards hosted a rich community of spiders belonging to 13 different families and 51 genera. However, the genera Philodromus, Oxyopes, Cheiracanthium, Icius, and Neoscona accounted for 72% of the captures. Spiders were more abundant and had a higher richness of genera in the low-intensity spraying than in conventional orchards. Philodromidae, Salticidae, and Cheiracanthiidae experienced a significant population reduction in conventional orchards, while Araneidae, Linyphiidae, and Thomisidae were not significantly affected by the intensity of spraying. The wandering hunting mode could explain the negative impact on Philodromidae, Salticidae, and Cheiracanthiidae but does not explain the lack of effect on Oxyopidae and Thomisidae. No significant effect was found on any family of web builders.

Keywords: biological control; chemical control; natural enemies; pear pests; pesticides; population dynamics; spider guilds; spiders; wandering spiders; web builders.